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News about coronavirus in Florida and around the world is constantly emerging. It's hard to stay on top of it all but Health News Florida can help. Our responsibility is to keep you informed, and to help discern what’s important for your family as you make what could be life-saving decisions.

UF Health Jax Official Does Not Recommend Masks For Vaccinated People In Florida

UF Health Jacksonville Hospital
WJCT
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UF Health Jacksonville's COVID-related hospitalizations have doubled over the past two weeks to 35 patients.

Chad Nielsen, director of Accreditation and Infection Prevention for UF Health Jacksonville, said Florida residents should follow CDC guidelines, which do not recommend vaccinated people mask up.

A UF Health Jacksonville official does not recommend fully vaccinated people in Florida wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Chad Nielsen, director of Accreditation and Infection Prevention for UF Health Jacksonville, said local residents should follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which do not recommend vaccinated people mask up.

That contradicts the World Health Organization’s Friday recommendation that people continue to wear masks even if they are vaccinated for COVID-19. 

Nielsen said WHO’s recommendations are different from the CDC’s recommendations because the WHO provides guidance to countries around the globe.

“Their message is felt by countries with very high vaccination rates, like many in Europe, as well as countries with low vaccination rates, such as those in Indonesia, India, Southeast Asia,” Nielsen said.

Almost 47% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, while about 23% of the world’s population has received at least one dose. About 46% of Florida residents are fully vaccinated.

The WHO’s decision was sparked by the spread of the delta variant, a strain of COVID-19 that spreads easier, has harsher symptoms and is more lethal, Nielsen said.

UF Health Jacksonville's COVID-related hospitalizations have doubled over the past two weeks to 35 patients.

“If people feel more comfortable in a mask, then we encourage them to do so,” Nielsen said.

However, he said, it would take further case growth and COVID-19 clustering to cause Florida health officials to change their guidelines.
 
Tristan Wood can be reached at newsteam@wjct.org or on Twitter at @TristanDWood.

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